A complete guide to improving your business’s local SEO

A complete guide to improving your business’s local SEO

June 17, 2024

 

SEO

Written by: Ryan Walsh
Date: 17/06/2024

Many businesses across the UK will want to know how to improve their local SEO. For some companies, this is with good reason; it’s a crucial lifeline that keeps the sales flowing.

Therefore, businesses from various sectors invest in search engine optimisation (SEO) to promote their services or products. We work with many Welsh businesses to improve their organic and local SEO.

 

Why is SEO so important to so many businesses?

Consider this: 77% of shoppers use Google to find local businesses, so now you can see why businesses of all sizes invest in search engine optimisation. If your company isn’t optimising its websites for different keywords so that they can appear on the first page of Google, then your business could be missing out on potentially many sales.

 

So, how does a business go about improving its local SEO?

First things first, understanding exactly how local SEO and how Google’s algorithm works:

 

How does local SEO work?

Local SEO is a straightforward concept. It’s just about focusing your SEO efforts on a specific geographic region, such as one town or city. The complication comes when you consider how many ranking factors, from backlinks to business citations, often need to be improved.
It is not just about backlinks and business citations; the SEO agency should often:

  •  Optime the Google Business profile
  •  Add content marketing
  •  Improve the backlinks
  •  Improve the on-page SEO
  •  Build quality business citations

The goal is to ensure that when someone searches for a specific product or service within that area, your business appears on the first page for as many relevant keywords as possible. Whether you run a local dog-walking service or are a top solicitor, you will undoubtedly want your company to appear on page one of Google’s SERPs.

Where do you want your business to appear on Google?

When it comes to getting any business onto the first page of Google, there are many different ways to go about it.
For example, your business can display in the following ways:

  • Google Business (Map)
  • Google AdWords
  • Google’s organic results

Our SEO agency specialises in improving local and organic SEO, yet you may also want to pay for Google Adwords as well.

 

How can a business optimise its Google business results?

Relevance

Now, relevance is of enormous importance when it comes to getting a business on first page of Google’s organic results or displayed in Google Business results. For example, somebody looking to buy organic dog food doesn’t want to buy a set of aluminium ladders.
So, a business needs to work hard to improve its “relevance” for a particular keyword or keyword(s)

Google’s algorithms therefore need to use Googlebot to understand and appreciate your business’s services and products and how well-optimised the company website is. One of the ways Google’s algorithms do this is through Google E-EAT. That is working out how good the advice is that you are publishing on your company website.

Rest assured, improving your relevance and appearing in the organic results involves a lot of time and effort, but it’s well worth it when the work is done right. That’s because, businesses that do get on page one of Google for important keywords can improve their sales.
With the right SEO agency behind you, your business can appear twice on the first page in the organic and Google Maps results.
Therefore, our SEO agency can help your business appear in organic results or Google Maps and organic results.

 

Distance

Your business’s distance from the customer is essential if you want it to appear in the Google Maps results. This is why a business should mention your address on your Google My Business profile, which makes it extremely clear to Google’s algorithm where your business is based.

Also, we need to build a lot of quality business citations.

Google will use its algorithm to determine where somebody is currently, then offers business results based on how far away the store is from an actual person. It does this through location data, which if switched on in the person’s phone then Google can work out where the nearest shop is that sells that product.

Therefore, by optimising Google Business profile and your website, making it clear where you are based, this can help to improve your local SEO

 

Prominence

Prominence is a ranking factor in local SEO, and Google’s algorithm rates how important it deems a business to be in that area.
For example, a restaurant with many positive and genuine Google business reviews and which also has many good high-quality backlinks is likely to be ranked higher organically and displayed more in the Google Business results.

To improve prominence, businesses can focus on getting more positive Google Business reviews, building high-quality backlinks, and increasing their online visibility through social media and other marketing channels.

 

Google Business Profile Optimisation

Many companies will have a well-designed website that looks fantastic and they might have started improving other aspects of their local SEO, such as adding schema markup to the website.

However, it is essential to take the time to create and optimise your Google business profile.

Here are some of the ways you can optimise your Google Business profile:

  • Make sure your business address is added to the Google Business profile
  • Add your company phone number
  • Add your company name
  • Also add your website URL
  • Write a unique business description
  • Add pictures of your business, such as the staff, such as the company director, photos of the shop front for example
  • Check over the information to make sure it’s correct, and complete as many of the fields as you possibly can

 

Add as much information as you can

It’s worth reiterating this point because many people might rush to set up their Google Business profile.
For example, somebody, like a company director, might be rushed off their feet all day long. At the end of a checklist for the days to create a Google Business profile, so, they might be in rush it because they want to get home and have dinner.

However, it would be best not to rush setting up your Google Business profile; instead, ensure take your time to make sure its complete and add as much information as possible. This is crucial for improving your local SEO.

You have to bear in mind that this profile might be competing with, let’s say, over a hundred other competitors, so the competitions Google Business profiles may well be more thorough, complete, and detailed. Therefore, because there Google Business profiles are well optimised, they will stand a better chance of being displayed, rather than an complete and rushed Google Business profile.

 

Keep your profile up-to-date and respond to customers

You will often see a lot of Google Business profiles that have not been kept up-to-date. This can cause what is called in SEO, “conflicting business citations”. This is when one or more business addresses says you are in one location, and the business citation mentions a totally different address, such as an old business address. This can cause problems for the company’s local and also organic SEO.

So, ensure your Google Business profile is kept up to date. Also, please keep all the citations up to date; this means keeping all of the NAP information up-to-date such as companies name, address and phone number.

 

Content marketing

Google’s algorithms need a good understanding of the products and services your business is selling. Therefore, if you are already publishing excellent, helpful advice (Google E-EAT) and becomes clear what products or services you sell, and that your business are experts on those products or offering a service your business will rank higher on Google.

For example, if you regularly write blog posts about lets say offering employment law advice, then it’s clear that your business offers that service and you are a solicitors practice. So, by writing helpful, high-quality content marketing (Google E-EAT), such as regularly writing blog posts, you are helping shoppers; we also help the Google’s algorithms decipher what products and services your business sells and depending on the quality of the information, where to rank your business in Google’s organic results.

 

Importance of NAP Consistency
Why it’s essential to have NAP consistency

Google’s algorithms want to see consistent NAP information, that is the name of your business, address, and phone number, all matches on your website, with your business citations, and on Google Business.

The NAP information should also be written in plain text so the Googlebot can read it on your company website.

This NAP information should then match precisely with your Google Business Profile and should also match with all of your business citations, whether that’s if you have one single business citation or whether you have 10,000 business citations, they should all match.
SEO agencies refer to this as having “NAP consistency”.

 

Where should the NAP information be placed?

So, for the vast majority of websites that we work on, the NAP information is placed on their website within the footer.
It also needs should be placed on the Contact Us page on your company website. As mentioned earlier, it’s also mentioned in online directories such as Yellow Pages (business citations). It can also be noted on your social media profiles, such as Facebook.
And, of course, you want the same NAP information written on your Google Business profile.

 

It can be time-consuming updating your business citations, but it’s massively important

One of the reasons your business might be say on page 2 of Google currently, that’s in Google’s organic results, is because your business may possibly have “conflicting business citations”.

Because of a businesses change of address; let’s say your company website no longer mentions your old address but your new one. But then you have, let’s say, 100 business citations that mention your old address, and you can quickly begin to appreciate that Google’s algorithms can get massively confused about where your business is located.

 

Local SEO audit

It’s worth paying a local SEO agency to cast their eyes over your company website and see if any obvious SEO errors which need improving. It can sometimes be as simply as you have all of your main services all grouped on one page together.

Having each distinct service or product on its page is much better. Every company website is different, so the SEO recommendations for your business should be unique.

Therefore, we would recommend not just using an SEO tool; you need to use this with the expertise and skill of a highly experienced SEO consultant.

Often an SEO consultant will use a combination of the SEO report, generated by a highly respected company such as Moz, and also use the SEO consultants skill set to make recommendations for improvement.

 

How many business citations do we need?

This is a difficult question to answer because, in terms of SEO, the work never really ends, whether it’s building backlinks, writing content marketing, or building business citations.

Even when you reach right at the top of Google, and we mean number 1 position, you cant sit still for long, as a competitor could come along and beat you in a few weeks or, let’s say, months.
What’s essential, and this applies to any aspect of improving your companies search engine optimisation, is that you focus your energy on quality rather than quantity.

A significant problem that many businesses get into, especially if they’re trying to improve the SEO themselves, is to think that they have a huge mountain to climb, so they sacrifice quality for quantity.

This, then, is a recipe for disaster; Googles algorithms will be able to see that the quality of the SEO work is substandard quickly; therefore, you might actually either get what is called an Google algorithmic or a Google manual action penalty placed on the site; now, this can be a massive problem for your SEO if this does occur.

This is a massive problem because, quite simply, it can sometimes take years for your business to recover from an algorithmic or manual Google penalty.

Therefore, even when building business citations, quality is massively important. For example, when you’re writing the company address, if your main business address says, let’s states “Street” in the address, and you abbreviate this to just “ST”, it’s the little details like this that make a massive difference.

So, mentioning ST instead of street could cause conflicting citations.

Next, focus on improving your local backlinks.

What separates the businesses on the first page of Google from those ranked on page 10 of Google?
It’s often comes down backlinks; the businesses right at the top of Google, that’s the companies right at the top of Google’s organic results, will be those companies that have excellent, high-quality, well-built backlinks.

The links might come from online newspapers, such as The Guardian, they might come from well-known brands, or it might just come from a respected blogger- as long as the backlinks are quality, they can help improve your companies local search engine optimisation.

 

Therefore, quality backlinks often make a difference.

Don’t confuse backlinks with business citations; many SEO agencies say we’ve created say over “100 backlinks” this year. If it’s business citations they have created, then the backlinks often are not of much use.
Don’t get us wrong; it’s still crucial to have business citations because these reinforce your company’s NAP information.

However, the backlinks which often come with business citations, often are of low SEO value, and often don’t massively improve your SEO, especially if they are a no-follow backlinks. Therefore, the SEO company might make itself look like busy bees, stating that they built 100 backlinks for you, when they may just be citation links, which often don’t massively improve a businesses SEO. Yet, you will need NAP business citations, to help reinforce your companies NAP, and help improve local SEO.

 

Google Business reviews are massively important

A word to the wise. Don’t ever be tempted to purchase Google business reviews; this will most certainly get your Google Business profile removed from Google.

What you want instead of genuine customers to leave on their own reviews, if you manage to get a lot of positive five-star review about your business. As you accumulate these, you start proving Google’s algorithms that your business offers a quality service.

The business, therefore, starts to be displayed for more and more Google Map results. However, we can’t over-emphasise this point enough: only ever obtain genuine Google My business reviews left by real customers, never therefore buy business reviews.

 

Make your company website fast

Whether sitting on a train or simply waiting to purchase an item in a que at the local supermarket, we like things to move fast, if not supersonic.

This is the same when buying a product or service; if things move too slowly, say an e-commerce website is too slow, well the shopper might go elsewhere to purchase that item; therefore, to improve your business’s organic SEO, the company website must be fast, therefore pay more for very fast hosting.

If you want to improve your companies organic SEO, your business will need fast hosting.

Are you able to help our business improve its organic SEO?

We have some of Wales’s most seasoned, highly experienced SEO consultants working for us, and we are a well-known SEO agency in the U.K. Therefore, we can offer high-quality SEO at reasonable prices.

 

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